Usability Issues in the Design of Novice Programming Systems

J.F. Pane and B.A. Myers, "Usability Issues in the Design of Novice Programming Systems," Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science Technical Report CMU-CS-96-132, Pittsburgh, PA, August 1996, 85 pages.

also appears as:

Human Computer Interaction Institute Technical Report CMU-HCII-96-101.

This report reviews and organizes research about novice programmers. Over the past two decades, many aspects of novice programming have been investigated, resulting in the discovery of important facts and tradeoffs about what makes programming difficult to learn, and about the effectiveness of existing languages, environments, and methods of instruction. However, because this research is dispersed throughout the literature, it is difficult for designers of new programming systems to consider all of the issues collectively. The result is that most new systems are built primarily around technical objectives, perhaps considering only a subset of the usability issues summarized here. In addition to providing a checklist of issues that should be considered in the design of future systems, this report can be used to help researchers identify fruitful topics of future novice programming research.

Full Paper:
CMU-CS-96-132.pdf (208 KB).

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